Making Fermented Foods

Fermenting food is a way to preserve it some, and you end up getting a beneficial bacteria called - lactobacillus acidophilus. Most commonly we're used to hearing about this bacteria being in yogurt, and that's the first recipe I'll share here.

In this recipe I give you a way to make yogurt where you'll remove the whey. If you like you can save this whey and use it other recipes. It's high in protein, so the most common place people use it is in a protein breakfast shake. You can tenderize meat with it, use it to replace all the water in bread making, put some in your water as you cook rice or beans, use it as a starter bacteria in other fermented foods, or even put a little in your compost pile to help it break down faster. You can use any milk you want for this - heck I even made some with almond milk once, but it didn't make much, and I didn't like the taste personally. I like to use whole milk.


1/2 gallon milk
1/4 cup powdered milk (optional, used as a thickener)
2-3 tbsp starter (greek yogurt, or whey, something with the lactobacillus acidophilus in it)


- Take 1/2 gallon of milk and pour in a crock pot. Turn on low setting and cook for 2 1/2 hours.
- Keep covered and turn of the crock pot. Leave it to sit for 3 hours.
- Then combine 2 cups of the warm milk, the powdered milk, and your yogurt starter. Mix well and return this mixture to the crock pot. Gently stir to mix.
- Wrap the crock pot with towels to insulate and leave for 7 hours.

After this time, if when you go to check it, it seems too liquid (it should have thickened just a little), wrap it back up and let it sit for maybe a couple more hours. The longer you let it sit the more sour it will tend to taste, but I've often left it for around 9 hours.

- Then strain the mixture with a colander that's been placed in a large bowl. Line the colander with cheese cloth or coffee filters, and place it in your refrigerator for 2-3 hours. The longer it sits the thicker your yogurt will get. I've had to leave it for up to 10 hours before, and when I went to get it, it had become as thick as cream cheese. The liquid that strains off is your whey.

If you do have to leave it straining longer than needed (say over night), it's not a problem. All you need to do to get it the consistency you want would be to add some of the whey back in and stir.


Yogurt on granola - with strawberries and honey!

Easy "set it and forget it" Yogurt

Quarts of milk
4 tbs. yogurt or whey per quart of milk

- Fill as many glass quart jars as you're wanting to make, do not put lids on at this time. Place filled jars in a pot of water, or "water bath".
- Heat the milk briefly to 180 degrees F. Remove the jars from the water and allow the milk to cool naturally to about 105 degrees F.
- Add in 4 tbs of yogurt or whey to each quart. Stir thoroughly. You can place a light cover over each jar now if you want.
- Set aside the cultured milk to incubate undisturbed at 105-112 degrees F, for 2-3 hours.

Options for where to incubate your yogurt might be:
- in a cooler, with the jars insulated by towels or newspaper, you might even want to have a heating pad on low inside the cooler
- on top of a refrigerator or radiator
- if you have a fire going in a fireplace or wood stove, maybe on a shelf near that
- or in an oven with a pilot light

Yogurt can be cultured at any temperature between 70-120 degrees F., but it takes longer to thicken at the lower temperatures, and may end up with a sour flavor. After it has incubated for 3 hours, check it to see it's thickness. As soon as the yogurt retains the impression of a spoon into it's surface, stop incubation and refrigerate. Know that this can take many hours (6-12) if your temperature is on the low end. I've made this often enough that I know it's going to take a long time in my personal set up (in a cooler, in the spare bedroom that stays a little too warm). So I just fix it up and leave it alone for the next 8 hours before checking it, or over night. My mom used to make hers in a 2 quart jar in her gas oven that had a pilot light. Sometimes hers came out lumpy, but I've since found out that was because too much yogurt starter was used. If yours comes out lumpy, not to worry, you can just stir it up if you want - it's not ruined.

Lumpy or sour yogurt is perfectly fine for you, but some people get put off by anything less than smooth and sweet/tart yogurt.

After all this... just enjoy! I eat yogurt daily in one way or another. Some people like to put in fruit or sweeten theirs with sugar or honey. I leave mine plain, but will often use fruit or honey when I later eat the yogurt. I like it:
- on toast, sometimes with honey, or a little jelly dabbed on
- in a breakfast shake, with fruit, and often some wheat germ or flax powder, and a spoonful of coconut oil
- with granola, then dribbled with honey, or even strawberries added

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